Monday, January 16, 2012
It's January 16th, and for Sons of Norway members around the globe today is a day of celebration. You see, today is our Founders' Day, which marks the 117th anniversary of the founding of Sons of Norway!
On this date back in 1895, 18 Norwegian immigrants in Minneapolis, MN came together and formed a new group whose goals were to protect its members and their families from the financial hardships experienced during times of sickness or death in the family. A noble purpose, to be sure, but over time the mission grew to also include the preservation of Norwegian heritage and culture. It was clear that our founders and earliest members were great leaders and, I believe, also men of great vision.
Since then, Sons of Norway has grown significantly in every way. We are now more than 60,000 strong with lodges and members residing throughout all of North America and Norway. We have become a recognizable brand with reliable financial products that benefit our members. We have also grown into a large philanthropic organization that annually provides more than a hundred thousand dollars in scholarships and grants while members give more than half a million hours of volunteerism every year.
It's been said that from the smallest of seeds can grow the largest of fruit. I think Sons of Norway is a prime example of how true that saying is. So much so, in fact, that I keep a large photo of our 18 founders over my desk as a source of inspiration and perseverance. When I look at it I always think "Well, if a group of 18 can create all this, just imagine what a group of 60,000 can create when every Sons of Norway member works together toward a common goal." Just a little food for though.
For Sons of Norway members reading this, there's three things I'd love to hear about throughout the day: 1) Sons of Norway members wearing Norwegian colors or their membership pin all day 2) members taking advantage of the day to recruit someone new into their lodge and 3) all members taking a moment to reflect on all our Founders have created, then considering what you could do to build upon that.
I hope everyone has a great Founders Day and I encourage you to post your Founders' Day activities and reflections on the Sons of Norway Facebook page.